Being young is fun, but it is also hard. We want to be liked, excel in school, get along with teachers, family and friends, and start making our own decisions. We get stressed, feel sad or worried and confused.
We work through our problems, things get better, and we feel happy and enjoy being with our family and in school. That’s all normal.
Kids with mental/emotional illness experience the same feelings, but those feelings last for a long time and can cause us to lose the ability to function and bounce back unless we have medical and social help. Mental health problems are real, scary, confusing, and painful. We can be afraid of talking about it because we don’t want to be different. It’s important to recognize the signs that we might need help.
- Often feel very sad, angry, worried, hopeless, or worthless
- Feel grief for a long time after a loss or death
- Think your mind is controlled or out of control
- Use alcohol or drugs
- Exercise, diet and/or binge-eat obsessively
- Hurt other people or destroy property
- Do reckless things that could harm you or others
If you do, find someone to talk to – your parents, doctor, your religious leader, or school counselor. Asking for help is a sign of courage and strength. Remember it’s not anyone’s fault. There’s no reason to feel bad or ashamed. Mental health problems can be treated. We have the power to take steps to improve our mental health. We can be happy and live well with a mental health condition.
When we have found the treatment we need, we can help other teens by talking about our experiences and connecting with them. It’s important to know that we are not alone, that other kids are going through the same thing.
If you have a friend you think needs help, especially if the friend mentions suicide, you have to put the person’s life before your friendship. Don’t keep it a secret, even if your friend made you promise not to tell anyone. Tell someone – his or her parents, school counselor, anyone you think could help. It’s the right thing to do.